Wow! What an amazing and overwhelming couple of days! Here he is, our beautiful baby boy Harrison Isaac Gibbs, born on Sunday 10th November at 2:13am and weighing just a touch under 8lbs. He is perfect and arrived happily and safely into the world.
On Friday 8th Nov (H's birthday) I was due to go visit some friends with a newborn, but about 30 mins before I was due to leave the house I noticed a bit of a show in my knickers and became aware of the dull, crampy pains in my belly - like mild period pains. I cancelled the visit to my friends and called J, asking him to come home 'just in case'.
The surges / contractions (I'll use these terms interchangeably) started late Friday night going into the early hours of Saturday morning. They felt like strong period pains with my tummy tightening up, but lasted only a minute or so and came only once an hour at this point.
Saturday morning, J and I lazed around the house. We made breakfast and watched TV and just breathed through the surges together. They started getting stronger and closer together so that by 4pm, J was concerned that we needed to call the hospital, as they were coming 4 mins apart. However, my waters hadn't broken and I felt like it was still too early to go in - I was convinced the hospital would send me home again!
We called the hospital and they asked me to come in for a VE, so we got packed up and drove to the Constable Wing where the midwife led unit, Juno Suite is located. Once in, we were shown to a room in the suite - but it had no bed, chairs or birthing ball in it! Everyone seemed pretty disorganised to be honest, but J started setting up the room with all the multi coloured LED candles and aromatherapy oils we'd brought with us. Eventually all the bits were brought into the room and I had a VE which found I was 4cm dilated, so that was settled... I was told I wouldn't leave the hospital till I'd had our baby!
The hours ticked by, with surges growing stronger and closer and closer together. Every 15 minutes a midwife called in to check the baby's heartbeat. The whole way through, he had a healthy, strong heartbeat. J kept reminding me to snack on the Alpen bars I'd brought, to drink water and to change position, but by 10pm, no position was particularly comfortable and I was getting very tired. A midwife came in to perform anothe VE and said I was still 4-5cm dilated. I felt so disappointed, my cervix had made hardly any progress. She said the membranes were bulging as my waters still hadn't burst. Then all of a sudden, what felt like a water balloon filled with warm water burst and splashed the midwife in the face! I was horrified but can now see the funny side :)
Once my waters had burst, labour seemed to shift up a gear. Within an hour, I felt the urge to bear down with each surge, which caused more and more water to gush out of me. The sensations were becoming hard to bear so I was given gas and air, which was more of a distraction than any kind of pain relief. I quickly found myself entering the kind of deep trance like state of labour, the pain and the intensity of each surge washed over me like waves and I felt completely powerless to control it, only to keep calm and submit to the sensations.
At about 11:30pm I was told I could go in the birthing pool. As I climbed into the warm water an immediate sense of relief washed over me. It felt so good to be in the water. J set the room up and I positioned myself to face him, with two midwives behind me. Each surge filled me with an uncontrollable sense of needing to push down, my birthing body just completely took over at this point and I was now deep in a trance like state - able to communicate but only dimly aware of what was going on around me. I had gas and air to help take the edge off, but as I said, it didn't alleviate any of the sensations, it was just something to focus on. Unfortunately, with each urge to push, I was very conscious that I was also pooing in the water, though as I hadn't eaten very much that day I doubted it would have been anything substantial. I felt awful and kept apologising but the midwives just shushed me and rubbed my back soothingly. When you push, it feels like you're pushing out the biggest poo of your life - there's no way you can isolate the pushing sensation to just your birth canal. J was constantly on hand to spray my back with cooling spray everytime I got too hot and keep me hydrated. I
have no idea how I could have done any of it without him by my side.
At about 1:30am, after a couple of hours in the pool, I felt the baby's head travel down my birth canal. The senior midwife felt inside me and could touch his head. I looked at the clock on the wall and said 'right, this baby is coming out by 2am'. I was beyond exhausted, my body felt like I had been swept along in a tornado, I was so sore and battered. A few surges later, the baby's head started to crown. Forget any of the pain of the surges, which were deep and muscular. This felt like I was being torn in two - literally white hot agony. It was the only time in the whole of my labour that I felt panicked, I was just so unprepared for the intensity of it. Fortunately, the crowning and pushing out of his head didn't take too long and before I knew it, the midwives were spurring me on for the final few pushes. Out came his shoulders then, in a slippery rush, he was out. I turned to find him in the water, but it was murky. A midwife plucked him out of the water and straight onto my bare chest. J and I embraced and shaking, held him close as he took his first few breaths. It was the most amazing yet surreal experience of my life - kissing my baby boy hello for the first time whilst sitting in a drained bathtub filled with blood and entrails! The placenta was quickly and painlessly delivered and our baby was taken off me as I was shakily helped out of the bath. I was given a bed to lay on and wrapped in sheets, blood still seeping between my thighs. Our baby was weighed and when they asked us for a name, we announced Harrison Isaac Gibbs. He was handed back to me for breastfeeding, which I was luckily able to do straight away, though it is a funny sensation. Once fed, Harrison was handed to Jody and I was wheeled into another room for some stitches and post partem care. My legs were still shaky, I guess adrenaline was coursing through me, despite my exhaustion. I brightly announced I'd like to go home as soon as possible. I just wanted to get home and spend time with my perfect little family. And J and I are completely besotted with our little monkey. He is such an adorable, cuddly baby who wants nothing more than to be with his mummy and daddy every minute of the day. And the feeling is entirely mutual. ❤️
Birthing room at Juno Suite
Harrison's first hat
Harrison and his mummy (that's me!)
My little family 💕